Lake in the Hills, Illinois,Strangling,Scratching

Mother strangled her 2 kids, hanged herself in suburban home: coroner

January 12, 2017
in Kids

Janaya Simmons speaks about the death investigation of her next-door neighbors in Lake in the Hills on Jan. 11, 2017. Carla Lopez-Mejia and her children, Ezequiel Garcia, 11, and Ariana Garcia, 8, were found dead Jan. 10. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune) Outside the town house with the boarded-up door, three teenage boys added a rosary and Christian medallion to a growing memorial of stuffed animals, candles and balloons. "We wanted to show our respect," William Weck, 13, said Wednesday afternoon as a cold drizzle fell. Another nearby resident, Kelly Klein, said her two daughters were having a hard time with the news: two children and their mother had been found dead in the Lake in the Hills home the previous day in what authorities said appeared to be a double murder-suicide. A couple hours later, the news took another grim turn: Authorities announced their findings that the children, Ezequiel Garcia, 11, and his sister Ariana, 8 had been strangled, and that their mother, Carla Lopez-Mejia, 27, had then hanged herself. "It is so heartbreaking," Klein said. "It brings tears to my eyes as a mom who is supposed to protect her children." Police in the small McHenry County community said they were called to the town house along Daybreak Drive at about 3 p.m Tuesday, where first-responders found the remains. Janaya Simmons, who lives in an adjoining town house, said her daughter normally rode the school bus with Ariana but that she didn't show up Tuesday. Simmons called the Garcia children "full of energy" and said they liked to play outside no matter the weather. She recalled that, after a recent snowfall, her daughter built an igloo with Ariana and Ezequiel, whom Simmons called "Ezzie." A...

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